Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Free Flow vs Outline

How do you write? Is the question a bit too general? I agree.

If you are currently writing, or have ever written a book, what does the process look like for you? More specifically, do you just write or do you use an outline?

On my first manuscript I just wrote as the story unfolded in my head. I had a rough, simple outline, but nothing more than a long paragraph written about the plot. While I was finishing that first manuscript, I ran across a well known author's website where she'd said she always used outlines when writing. So, from what I gathered, she'd create a chapter by chapter outline and then write the book. That sounded very intriguing and I decided to try that in a future manuscript.

I started writing my second manuscript without an outline, and about 10,000 words into it, I am beginning to entertain the whole outline idea again.

So Here's the Question:
Do you, or have you used an outline? And if so, what does it look like? How in depth do you go?


  1. I've never done an outline.
    However, I've put a few necessary scenes down, and tried to flow to and from them...
    But I still end up doing different things.

  2. Rough Outline - then build with my thoughts from there. But the edting process is a nightmare for me. I hate trimming down the words, but I also know not everything I have to say should be in there. Editing kills me, lol, so an outline might save the day but I just don't *like* them that much. It feels too rigid to me for whatever reason.

  3. I think every author has his or her own way that works for him. Even each book might require something different.

    My first novel attempt I wrote without anything more than a basic idea of what it was about. It ended up a mess. Since then, I've used a general percentage breakdown I saw in a book. I wrote about it here:

    It's worked really well for me... given me a general direction as well as a lot of freedom to change and grow as I need to.

    What's most important is finding something that works for you.